This past week, I asked my friends to send me their fortune cookie phrases, so that I might analyze them to determine whether they were indeed a fortune or just a statement. Before I begin analyzing the submissions, I need to explain the basic criteria that I’ve established to evaluate whether it’s a statement or a fortune. It’s pretty simple, really.
If the phrase has a perceived benefit generally tied to some sort of action, then it is a fortune.
See, that’s it. Now let’s see how this theory is put into practice:
- People are attracted by your delicate features. | Statement via Ace C. | While there is a benefit (people attracted to you), it does not require some sort of action by yourself.
- The world may be your oyster, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get its pearl. | Statement via Jay L. | This is more of a philosophical statement; no particular benefit given by eating oysters…or turning the world into an oyster.
- Would you willingly go to hell if you could take everyone with you? | “Statement” via Dan W. | I chose statement because although this is grammatically presented as a question, there is no suggested benefit tied to the action of going to hell.
- Before an evening of romance, turn off the cell phone. | Statement via Ben Y. | You could argue that there is a perceived benefit by following the action of turning off your cell phone, but the phrase does not suggest there is a particular (nor general) benefit involved. It is more like advice.
- Success and wealth are in your future. | Fortune via Panda Express | While there is not a specific action listed, there is a benefit that is alluded to: success and wealth.
- Good opportunities ahead – set your mind to grasp the next. | Fortune via Panda Express | This one is a perfect case-in-point: a perceived benefit (good opportunities) tied to an action (set your mind…).
- You will soon receive pleasant news of a personal nature. | Fortune via Jay L. | Although this one does not have a particular action tied to it, there is certainly something of benefit coming in the future.
- You have firm convictions – stand strong behind them. | Statement via Panda Express | Purely a statement.
- Accept yourself. | Statement via Hong Kong Buffet | While there is probably a benefit in accepting yourself, this definitely reads more like a statement.
- Avenues of good fortune are ahead for you. | Fortune via Panda Express | Yup, textbook case here.
Do you have a fortune cookie you’d like me to analyze? If so, send it my way and I’d be happy to do so. Do you disagree with any of the above analyses? Share your reasoning via a comment!
Note | I know I received several more fortunes from a few of you, but I misplaced them over the course of the week (I apologize). If you’d like to send them to me again, I’d love to post them. Thanks!
And for the next blog…well, I’ll be conducting focus groups, surveys, phone interviews and textual analysis in order to research “Dandruff: A 20-Something Epidemic.”